Georgia Bulldogs (+280)
Much like Alabama has done every season after winning six national championships under Nick Saban, Georgia must find new motivation to definethe next legacy in 2023 with a roster that looks very different from its previous two title runs. With Stetson Bennett exhausting his eligibility at quarterback along with several high-profile portal exits, the Bulldogs are starting fresh in a sense as college football's likely preseason No. 1. Smart warned of this program relaxing given its all-time success on the field in recent years.
"I mean, it's human nature to relax. It's human nature to take the easy route. And I can be as guilty of that as anyone," Smart said after January's title win. "But it wasn't this team's nature to relax. This team — this wasn't as hard a job as people made it seem because of the people we recruited — not because of talent, but because of what they were — like the DNA inside of them. These dudes, this team was different. This team was just different. And every time they were backed against the wall they came out scratching, clawing. Like, if we had a bad practice, we'd have a great practice.
"They responded to everything. So the team's makeup -- I didn't talk about this enough last night. Our team GPA was the highest we've ever had in, like, 15 years at Georgia.Georgia's not easy. Georgia's hard academically. So when you have people that do well in school, they care about each other — I mean, Georgia's not getting easier academically — you have a chance at success. And these guys bought into that."
Alabama Crimson Tide (+500)
With two new coordinators, no Bryce Young or Will Anderson Jr., and a challenging schedule, there's some worry among national analysts that Alabama may not be widely-regarded as the preseason behemoth the Crimson Tide have carried for most years under Saban. After all, Alabama is coming off only its second two-loss regular season in the last decade. However, with the nation's top-ratedrecruiting class for 2023 on 247Sports, future championships are on the way given the Crimson Tide's penchant for talent-churning every signing period.
Ohio State Buckeyes (+650)
Ohio State has lost back-to-back games to Michiganfor the first time since1999 and 2000 and will enter the 2023 campaign on a two-game skid for only the second time since 2011. How will the program respond to its narrow loss to Georgia in the playoff without C.J. Stroud returning at quarterback? It's time for Kyle McCord and Devin Brown to battle it out for first-team honors, leading a team that is the third-most talented nationally behind Alabama and Georgia.And with that comes pressure on Ryan Day, who will be entering his fifth season as coach. He's 1-3 in playoff games with the Buckeyes and the program's reign atop the Big Ten has slipped thanks to Jim Harbaugh.
USC Trojans (+800)
The preseason favorite to get to the playoff as the Pac-12 champion, Lincoln Riley and the Trojans welcome back Heisman winner Caleb Williams and several other key starters off a squad that finished one win shy of a final four berth in 2022. Our question is this — where are the other Pac-12 heavyweights inside various sportsbook's top 10 title odds? Washington is equally talented and Oregon's is comparable in terms of the roster from top to bottom. The West Coast is loaded with elite teams anchored by future NFL quarterbacks in 2023.
Michigan Wolverines (+1200)
The two-time defending Big Ten champions have lost in the semifinals of the College Football Playoff consecutive years, which shows there's some unfinished business for a veteran-laden Wolverines team that brings back two of the nation's top five running backs, star quarterback J.J. McCarthy and a wealth of talent defensively. Michigan is one of three teams oddsmakers expect to be a national championship contender from the Big Ten, joining Ohio State and Penn State. Harbaugh once again has a team capable of being one of the four left standing later this year.
Clemson Tigers (+1600)
Clemson is an intriguing preseason title contender for many reasons. For starter, you hav to give Dabo Swinney a ton of credit for bucking tradition and going outside of the Clemson footprint for the nation's top assistant in college football. Garrett Riley's arrival in the ACC is fascinating. It takes guts after winning the ACC to fire your play-caller and Swinney made the decisive move to pass on Brandon Streeter for an opportunity at changing the Tigers' offense altogether.Riley transformed TCU's offense into one of the most productive units in the country in 2022 and now will develop Cade Klubnik. Clemson feels like a safer bet at +1600 than FSU does at +1800, no?
Florida State Seminoles (+1800)
Not only are the Seminoles expected to contend for their first ACC championship in a decade with quarterback Jordan Travis returning, future first-rounder Jared Verse (defensive end) and several playmakers, but FSU cleaned up in the transfer portal too. They signed two instant-impact starters from South Carolina, signed immediate help along the offensive front and should be able to continue 2022's 10-win momentum with a schedule that appears manageable after the opener against LSU. Expect the preseason hype to continue for the Seminoles.
Texas Longhorns (+2000)
Are you surprised Texas is once again the preseason favorite to win the Big 12? At some point, the obvious talent advantage over others in the league has to result in double-digit victories. Steve Sarkisian's third campaign should be his best with the Longhorns, who signed an elite class headlined by five-star quarterback Arch Manning and have reshaped their roster with key portal additions the past two cycles. Bijan Robinson's off to the NFL, but this is now Quinn Ewers' team and his leadership under center makes Texas a sexy dark-horse option at +2000 to win it all.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (+2000)
Notre Dame felt really good about its offseason roster revamp with the addition of Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman, but then lost offensive coordinator Tommy Rees to Alabama. Marcus Freeman's pending hire on his staff is vital toward this team's momentum in 2023. The Fighting Irish seemed to figure things out last fall after the unexpected loss to Stanford and capped Freeman's first year by beating nationally-ranked South Carolina during bowl season. The schedule doesn't let up in 2023, so Notre Dame will need Hartman's best.
Penn State Nittany Lions (+2200)
Personally, this might be my favorite longshot bet of the offseason. Penn State's youth-infused offense is set to make a major mark in the Big Ten next fall, but ultimately this team's overall worth will be based on the success of its defense. The Nittany Lions welcome back several starters who were on the fence about departing for the NFL, but believe in this program's rise coming off the 11-win season. Beating Michigan and Ohio State remains the No. 1 goal for a team that is going to be capable of doing so. Predicting it to happen is another story entirely.